Times Square’s eight year long transformation has been pronounced officially complete. Led by Snøhetta, the project saw the United States’ most visited destination change from a congested, horn-honking vehicular area into a world-class public plaza with the addition of over 100,000 square feet of pedestrian-exclusive space.
“Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta.
Snøhetta’s design reimagined the stretch of Broadway from 42nd to 47th streets, replacing the existing streets with a continuous hardscape connecting building front to building front. New seating options, including ten 50-foot long granite benches, allow pedestrians to occupy the space at a relaxed pace, as opposed to the aneurysm-inducing shuffle that visitors were subjected to for decades.
Snøhetta’s scheme begins first and foremost with the movement of people through the site – on average, 330,00 people move through Times Square each day. These numbers include both tourists and travellers coming from the nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Penn and Grand Central Train Stations. Reacting to these figures, the plan was designed to accommodate multiple speeds of pedestrian circulation, using what the architect’s call ‘subtle design gestures’ to empower people to move in a natural, comfortable way through the space.
“Snøhetta’s design is inspired by Times Square’s past and its rich entertainment history – a duality that influenced both the larger concept and the project’s details,” explain the architects.